Palm releases a new "crutch" to survive, now has 2

palm-is-a-cripple.jpgWith the Treo Pro Palm now has a second crutch to hobble around on, making it a better, more mobile cripple.

Why are the Centro, the most popular Palm and the Treo Pro crutches?

The Centro is a crutch because it is the same-OLD-treo stuffed into only a *slightly* smaller brick with a colorful shell on top. It provides no forward movement of their technology, but instead is a quick bit of cosmetic surgery to grab some new customers from the flock that is migrating over to smartphones (formerly business users, now everyday folk)

The Treo Pro is a crutch in the same way that all the "w" and "wx" model Treos are: Since Windows Mobile was available (and their new OS wasn't) they tossed it into their hardware to make a few quick bucks while they worked out what *should* be in there.

The upside is that they FINALLY *almost* got the hardware right. Aside from a screen that's too small, they seem to have created an almost Apple-like unboxing and an almost iPhone like phone with a keyboard.

The thing that kills me is that Palm has as devoted of a fan base as Apple, or even moreso. Take a look at the comments in the palm blog! There are throngs of people who are STILL proclaiming their devotion to Palm despite being abandoned. It's like the old ex girlfriend/boyfriend who hangs around after you're married "just in case" you come to your senses and divorce.

We linked out to our friends at Engadget last year when they wrote their "Dear Palm, It's Time For an Intervention" and would like to do so again now that they've posted Engadget Cares: The State of Palm Checking In A Year Later.

I think they are more forgiving at this stage in the game. Many of us have already mentally moved on to Android or the iPhone (on some network other than AT&T) and are just waiting to pounce.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on August 22, 2008 | Comments (0)

How to play Guitar Hero III on a Mac, in 11 easy steps

OK! After some ado I've figured out how to play Guitar Hero III smoothly on an Intel Mac. Here's how you do it:

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  • Step 1: Make sure you have at least a Mac Pro.
    Sorry, laptops (MacBooks, MacBook Pros) just don't have enough juice. iMacs are questionable (I don't have access to any). I've gone through all of the below with a new MacBook Pro with an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5Ghz with a GeForce 8600M GT with 512 RAM and tweaked all the performance settings using the nVidia Utility to no avail. Can't even play it smoothly at 640x480!

  • Step 2: Get a better graphics card.
    If you don't already have at least an ATI X1900 you'll need to buy one, despite the lukewarm reviews. The stock graphics card is not fast enough to run the game.

  • Step 3: Get a better cooler for the graphics card
    The X1900s run INSANELY hot and WILL overheat and crash your computer. I suggest the Accelero S1 from an earlier post.

  • Step 4: Adjust system fans to cool your better graphics card cooler
    The power plug for the turbo module is obscured by the enormous fins so it won't fit if you were to buy one. An easy workaround is to simply download and install smcFanControl (free) to control the Mac Pro's fans. Set the HD bay to somewhere near max.

  • Step 5: Install Windows using Boot Camp (requires OS 10.5 Leopard, Windows XP SP2)
    Don't forget to print out the instructions before starting!

  • Step 6: Install hardware drivers from Leopard DVD

  • Step 7: Change sound settings for XPlorer Guitar
    Windows seems to think that the wired XPlorer guitars are speakers, rather than input devices. Funny, that.

  • Step 8: Install Guitar Hero III
    Install GH3 while booted into Windows.

  • Step 9: Install the Guitar Hero III patches
    Since Aspyr screwed up with the initial release you should install the patches to gain some missing features and improve performance

  • Step 10: Install ATITool and create an overclock profile for your graphics card
    According to the reports on my ATITool my ATI X1900 was clocked at a piddling 300Mhz. After testing it reported it could be run at 3000Mhz! While the numbers surely aren't right, the performance gains when running GH3 are real.

  • Step 11: Pre-flight check and game configuration
    Before settling in to play your game make sure:
    - you set your case fans to high in OS X before booting into Windows so you don't fry your graphics card
    - you have your Guitar Hero III CD inserted
    - you have ATITool running with your overclocked settings loaded
    - you have your game graphics set to your liking in the GH3 "options" menu. While I was able to play the first few levels at 1920x1200 some of the levels (like the Desert Tour and Kaiju) are too complex and will stutter at anything above 1024x640. You should feel free to turn on all the lighting effects, though, and treat yourself to a "packed" crowd.

ENJOY!

Bonus: Since you've worked so hard and had to overcome so much to get here, why not treat yourself to all the songs from Guitar Hero I, Guitar Hero II and Guitar Hero Encore: Rock of the 80's by googling "Guitar Hero III PC Custom Pack (GHI-II-80s-Snakkii) GENERAL" and "Guitar Hero III PC Custom Pack (GHI-II-80s-Snakkii) FIX GENERAL" and following the instructions? (make sure to scan for viruses first!)

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on | Comments (1)

Windows in Signage: Sprint Store on 23rd and Broadway

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Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on August 19, 2008 | Comments (0)

Fix for loss of internet after Parallels upgrade

Seems like with every few builds of Parallels something stops working and the program owners are left to scratch their heads and wonder what to do while the developers pay little attention.

This last upgrade (to build 5608) completely killed my internet connection on my tower, and slowed it to a crawl on my laptop. Reboots to Windows and Parallels and the Mac did nothing. After rooting around for too long in the forums an old solution of running ipconfig release/renew ended up working for this problem:

To run ipconfig release/renew by going to the Start menu and selecting "Run..." which will open up the command terminal.

Then type:

cmd (then hit enter)

Then type:

ipconfig /release (then hit enter)

Then type:

ipconfig /renew (then hit enter)

The original forum post can be found here: http://forum.parallels.com/showthread.php?p=102057#post102057

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on July 29, 2008 | Comments (0)

The Conservative Guide to Bike Commuting

It seems like most bike commuting articles are written like vegetarian rants; basically that everyone on earth should bike commute or they are terrible people. So for this week we're switching from silicon tech to metal, rubber and lycra in our conservative guide to bike commuting.

Q: Should everyone commute by bike?
A: Probably Not.

Even though I know the joys and thrills that come with cycling and can not imagine a life without them, I'm also a realist. The bottom line is: most of us live quite a ways from work, our jobs don't have places to park bikes or store our clothes and frankly, most of America is too out of shape to bike to work.

That being what it is, it is great for your health and longevity as well as for environment so if you're considering it but aren't a regular cyclist, here are a few tips to make sure that you don't dive into the deep end and end up swallowing the pool water and swearing off bikes forever:

1: Make sure your bike is in good shape
Squishy tires, rubbing breaks and squeaky chains are a drag, literally. Make sure that your bike is in good condition before taking it out on the road. If your bike has been in storage for a year or more, have your local shop lube the chain and replace the cables for you. Make sure your tires are inflated to their maximum recommended psi.

2: Ride for fun first.
Take a weekend day when the weather is nice and you aren't in a rush to ride around your neighborhood or park and re-familiarize yourself with the joys of biking. Pay attention to how you feel on hills and after riding for a while. If you're finding yourself tiring easily you may need to get a few more miles in before you start doing it on the clock (and under pressure)

3: Do your route on the weekend
Riding your route on the weekend won't give you a feel for navigating traffic, but it will give you a chance to pick the route you want to try. You will also have a chance to time yourself to know what your "best case" scenario is, as well as get a feel for your physical fitness and make sure you'll be able to handle it.

4: Get good equipment
Cycling with your gear is HARD and you don't want to show up at work soggy. Good clothes are expensive but worth every penny; they will keep pools of sweat forming and will allow you to dry quickly when you show up at your destination--often by the time you've walked up to the restroom to change. You may also consider wearing high performance shorts or pants over your aerodynamic cycling bottoms. Even if you're already chiseled like a Michelangelo sculpture nobody at work really wants to see it.

breezer-panniers.jpg

5: Pay attention!
Remember that none of your car driving friends will remember you when you're a cyclist. This means that they will be trying to run you off the road. Remember "defensive driving" from school? This goes double when you're cycling.

6: Take it easy! (on the way to work)
A nice warm shower and dinner are waiting for you after your commute home, but you have nothing but a day of work waiting for you at the office, so ride as if this is the case. Pedal easy. Coast. Ring your bell. Have some fun. Cycling is a great meditative way to get you in a positive frame of mind for work.

7: Have your bail-out plan ready
In the world of cycling, flats happen. If you aren't already an expert at fixing flat tires, at least have a plan in case you get one and can't fix it. Many major cities have bike racks on buses and cities with subways will usually allow bikes in the last car. Have your public transportation card handy (or plan your commuting route so that you pass a bike shop on the way)

8: Please Don't Store your bike outside
It breaks my heart to see bikes chained up on fences. It really does. The first time it rains you will have a rusty chain. The second time your bike is as good as useless as the cables will start to corrode and seize up. Unless you want to spend $80/month on bike shop repairs do yourself a favor and bring the bike inside.


Other notes:
- Panniers (pictured above) are great because they keep the weight off of your shoulders, help to keep your back dry, and aid in organization (eg: put your clothes in one and your office supplies in the other)
- Bike commuting doesn't work well with spikey hairstyles. The more natural the hair, the less likely you'll have "helmet head"

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on April 27, 2008 | Comments (3)

Guitar Hero III (GH3) For Mac: We might be able to make this work yet...

Thanks to this article on xlr8yourmac.com we were able to disregard the terrible feedback for the ATI X1900 found on the apple store and get one installed and running reliably on our Quad 2.16 Mac Pro.

Since the article was so in depth there is not much that we can add other than this summary to throw on the pile of similar experiences from other card owners:

- The stock cooler for the ATI X1900 isn't just bad; it's utterly unusable. Within a half hour of initial installation it overheated and took the entire system down. Cranking up the HDD corridor fans using smcFanControl did nothing as the stock cooler exposes little of it's heat sink and relies entirely on it's own loud, ineffective fan

- After a 4 week backorder at newegg.com we finally received our Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 (rev 2) and found that the directions were, indeed, poorly illustrated and hard to understand. Knowing what the kit will look like when properly assembled helped a great deal. In the end installation was very smooth and linear.

Accelero0.jpg

- We are able to run work activities on an Apple 23" Cinema display (sharing the graphics memory between OS X in one "spaces" space and Windows XP Home SP2 on a second space) using the standard fan settings and passive cooling (no turbo module)

- The first run of Guitar Hero III crashed the system pretty hard but we presumed this was heat related and cranked the HDD fans up to 3000rpm (probably higher than needed) using smcFanControl. With these settings you can feel the air blowing out the back of the case and game runs fine at 1280x800 with crowd and lens flare on with the exception of certain camera pans in a few arenas which Aspyr acknowledges as a problem that will be addressed in a forthcoming patch.

smcFanControl-gaming.jpg

So all in all it's a little disappointing that so much tweaking is left to gamers and that consoles seem to continue to be the only "just works" way to play a game. That being said, good results can be had on Mac/PC and the Accelero S1 is quite a bargain for the stability it provides.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on March 28, 2008 | Comments (0)

Performance Problems with Guitar Hero III on Mac

What does a guy have to do to rock? (on a Mac)

A lot, apparently. We've been working with Aspyr recently due to their smash-hit game simply not performing on a very nicely equipped system.

The problem we've run into: Screen Stutter in the Desert Rock Tour and Kaiju Superdome. In particular: the camera views when looking up to the stage from the front row as well as sweeping camera pans from the back row to the stage.

On a quad 2.66 Xeon with 5GB RAM, a 500GB SATA HD, and a GeForce 7300 card with 256MB RAM the stutter in these areas is noticeable and seriously affects gameplay.

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To attempt to remedy the situation we:
- obviously shut down all other programs
- made sure GH3 was patched (version 1.1 is the latest at press time)
- made sure we were on the latest OS (Mac 10.5.2 at the time with the "graphics update" package)
- set the game's graphics mode to "boring" (eg: lowest resolution, low crowd**, no special effects) (low crowd is not NO crowd-- they just remove the crowd near the stage and thin the crowd in the back)
- killed the dashboard to remove the last bits of network connectivity (many widgets connect frequently to the internet which can cause hiccups)
- created a new account on the system to use
- upgraded the graphics card to an ATI X1900 with 512MB RAM

Once we hit that last step we knew there was a real problem with the game, which aspyr has finally admitted to. There is a another patch in the works but there is little info as to what exactly they are patching and how so there is not much we can do but wait.

In the meantime, if you are experiencing some performance issues that you think might be related to your widgets this article tells you how to kill them (and restart them later)

www.macworld.com/article/46236/2005/08/disabledashboard.html

Apparently Aspyr is not allowed to mess with the widgets due to some legal issues with Apple but end users have a little more flexibility.

To that end, I've used Automator to create two programs that you can try to see if your performance is improved somewhat:

rockout.jpgRock Out.app sets the dashboard to "off", restarts the dock (making the changes take effect) and launches GH3 (presuming that you've quit your other running applications and that your game is in /Applications/Guitar Hero III folder)


donerocking.jpgDone Rocking.app sets the dashboard to "on" and restarts the dock to resume normal computer use


You can download them here

Enjoy.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on March 9, 2008 | Comments (0)

Transferring Domains from Network Solutions? Better Start Early!

Do you think that $35/year is a little much to charge for an entry in a database? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we at Haus Interactive don't register any of our domains with Network Solutions.

As we take in clients that have brought their own domains and websites we gradually move them all over to goDaddy for registration (we, of course, do our own web hosting because we're control freaks).

It used to be that you could get your money's worth out of your yearly registration by waiting until the day before your domain expired before renewing or migrating, but it appears that those days are behind us.

Addicted to high profits like crack cocaine, Network Solutions has been employing every technique from stalling to stealing to get and retain victims customers. They would rather inconvenience you than lower their prices and compete.

Our recent experience looks something like this:

We had a domain expiring January 15 and started started getting letters early with titles like "FINAL RENEWAL NOTICE" (December 31) and "DEACTIVATION NOTICE ... service(s) listed below will be deactivated and removed if not renewed immediately" (January 8)

savings.jpgIn checking their price chart on their second email January 8 we saw that their very cheapest plan was able to match goDaddy's 1-year plan but YOU'D HAVE TO BUY 100 YEARS OF REGISTRATION AT REGISTER.COM TO GET THAT PRICE.

So we decided that we should start a little early, say January 13. On January 13 we logged into network solutions and unlocked the domain and began the transfer process at goDaddy.

The goDaddy half was easy: we confirmed our identity, entered our security code but then had log back into Network Solutions because the transfer stalled. Appears that we needed to request and enter a separate authorization code with them. We filled out the request and received it via email along with some sad message about not leaving them:

"If you are planning to transfer your domain to another registrar, we would like to do whatever it takes to keep your business - please let us know how we can improve our service to you.

If you have any questions, please contact Customer Service at registrar@networksolutions.com.

Network Solutions is committed to delivering high quality services to meet your online needs.

Sincerely,

Network Solutions Customer Support"

After finally pushing the request through we received the following from Network Solutions:

"We received notification on January 13, 2008 1:24:18 PM EST that you have requested to transfer to another domain name registrar. If you would like to proceed with this transfer you do not need to respond to this message. If you wish to cancel the transfer please contact us before January 17, 2008 1:24:18 PM EST by visiting our secure website https://www.registrar-transfers.com/?h={proprietary code}.

If we do not hear from you by January 17, 2008 1:24:18 PM EST, this transfer will proceed.
We are committed to providing you with the solutions, services, and support to help you succeed online. We hope to continue serving you in the future."

Notice the problem there? The only way to proceed is to NOT answer them and by NOT answering them the transfer will go through on the 17th, two days AFTER the domain expires, meaning that Network Solutions can put a lock on it pretty much ruining any chances for transferring this year.

brazil04.jpg

So we write to their customer support explaining that we actually wanted to transfer the domain IMMEDIATELY to which they responded to us by saying they needed to verify our email account which we did by responding to their response.

The next response goes like this:

"Thank you for contacting Network Solutions. We are committed to creating the best customer experience possible. One of the first ways we can demonstrate our commitment to this goal is to quickly and efficiently handle your recent request.

Please be advised that the transfer will push through on the 17h of January. To avoid any transfer interruption, we will be putting a 15-day special activation for your domain name, starting today, free of charge. This means that your domain name will be active with Network Solutions until January 29, 2008, or until you have successfully transferred your domain name to another registrar."

Really? A SPECIAL activation for us AT NO CHARGE so that we can do what we have the right to do, and that we were trying to do early so as to avoid this entire hassle? Infinitely generous. I mean, how could we have ever considered leaving them as they are clearly here for us and have our best interests in mind.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on January 26, 2008 | Comments (1)

iPhone weblinks for Palm Centro and Treo using Sharklinks

Even in a world of over 20,000 third party applications not everything has been written for the Palm OS.

Say, for example, you already found your free weather program and want to get your daily horoscope in as few clicks as possible. You'd search high and low but you would find that the only programs that are available are kind of expensive and don't provide a fully-functional trial version, thus removing them from the "consider" list.

The solution here might be to fill in this gap with information you know you can get on the web. Using the free program called Sharklinks you can create a web shortcut that appears in your launcher as if it were an actual application. This saves at least 3 of your 4 clicks to get to your info and you also can add a nice new icon to boot:

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Using sharklinks to create a new launcher shortcut. Make sure to check "unique app" to make it appear with the other applications.

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Using the techniques laid out in our previous post on customizing your Palm OS launcher you can then assign your web shortcut it's own custom icon. Cool.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on | Comments (0)

The web can be useful with Blazer for Palm Centro and Treo

This is going to sound like blasphemy but here's the deal: I'm not convinced we need full-sized Safari web browsing on our phones. Why not? Because we browse the web in different ways and for different reasons when we are on the road vs. when we are at our home or office.

At home or work we are looking at much larger screens (often as large as a television) and have plenty of room for 4 column layouts for newspapers and blogs and fast enough processors to handle large flash movies and rich media. We are also sitting down and have more time available for browsing.

On the road we are most likely searching for something specific and want to get it as quickly as possible: directions to a restaurant, news or weather updates, or a wikipedia definition to a word you're arguing with someone about.

We don't need to be scrolling all over creation to get to the answer (even if it is fun) -- we need it presented quickly and plainly.

As such the Blazer browser still isn't that bad for reaching these goals but in order to do so you need to actually turn off a few factory defaults. First, here is an example of the problem in action: Websites that have not made a mobile style sheet often render poorly in Blazer:

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Other problems include errors from sites that deliver content via AJAX or JavaScript that require multiple clicks to dismiss (ahem, twit.tv, cough...).

All of the fixes can be found on the General tab of your browser preferences:

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Reloading our sample wikipedia page shows it now is quite readable (and loads quickly!):

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Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on | Comments (1)

Guitar Hero III (GH3) For Mac, some important notes

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Announced Sept 11, 2007, Released December 11 and patched December 20, and patched again in May, Guitar Hero III has finally landed on the Mac platform.

Being the furthest tentacle out on this gaming franchise (with xBox 360, PS2, Wii and Windows generally taking priority) there are a few questions that don't seem to have easy-to-find answers.

Bronzefinger shall attempt to answer what it has learned thus far:

Q: Will Guitar Hero III run smoothly on my iBook/iMac/MacBook/etc.?
A: I know a lot of us are in a state of denial about this game's system requirements because they are so slap-you-in-the-face high. In fact, many people are disregarding these and buying the game anyway and then experiencing the pain of lags and stutters. Don't believe me? read the reviews at Apple.com and weep.

The MINIMUM system requirements:

  • Operating System: 10.4.10 (Tiger), 10.5 (Leopard)
  • CPU Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • CPU Speed: 2 GHz
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 5.1 GB + 1 GB Swap File
  • Video Card (ATI): Radeon X1600
  • Video Card (NVidia): Geforce 7300
  • Video Memory (VRam): 128 MB
  • Media Required: DVD-ROM
  • Macintosh mouse and keyboard
  • Official Guitar Hero X-Plorer Guitar Controller

RECOMMENDED SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

  • CPU Speed: 2.33 GHz
  • Memory:2 GB RAM
  • Video Memory (VRam): 256 MB

The key here is really the graphics card -- most MacBooks, MacBook Pros and early Mac Pros video cards DO NOT MEET THE MINIMUM SYSTEM REQUIREMENT and they WILL cause the game to stutter.

Here are a few real-world examples from the Bronzefinger stable:

Guitar Hero III for Mac, patch 1.1 installed, all other programs off:

MacBook Pro (dual 2.16Ghz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, 64MB Graphics Card (BELOW SPEC!)): 
Plays the first two levels up to the prison just fine with effects off. Then songs will fairly regularly suffer from visual slowdowns that are bad enough to not be able to play through them "by ear"

Mac Pro (quad 2.66Ghz Xeon, 5GB RAM, 500GB SATA HD, 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT (Aspyr support says this card is below spec but their website says it's supported)):

No visual difference between screen resolutions so play widescreen at the lower resolution. All effects on and mostly smooth gameplay but when panning through the crowd in the Japanese Superdome and the Desert Rock tour the screen will stutter slightly.

Q: Are there downloadable songs for this game like the PS2 version?
A: No.

Q: Can I play my friends online?
A: RedOctane states in their online F.A.Q. that online game play is NOT available between consoles, so you can NOT play online with your xBox or Wii friends.

Q: Since this came with an XBox USB guitar can I use the XBox wireless guitar or PS2 Guitar (since it uses a USB adapter)?
A: No. The official word from Aspyre is:
"The Guitar that we support for this game is the X-Plorer USB Guitar Controller. The Playstation 2 controllers will not work properly, even with the adapter. There have been many reports of compatibility problems with the PS2 controller. So, the X-Plorer (wired) USB Guitar Controller is the only controller that we support for GH3.

You can, however, dress your guitar up a bit with vinyl covers from a variety of sources including iStyles.com.

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For owners of GH3 on other systems you can find a handy chart of guitar compatibility in the scorehero forums

Q: What does "NOTICE: This game contains technology intended to prevent copying that may conflict with some disk and virtual disk drives." mean?
A: In an act of customer loathing Aspyr has employed some kind of copy protection that requires that your install DVD be inserted into your machine in order to run the game. It appears that it is only used as a check to prove you "own" the game and is not used to play the actual game -- so you don't have to worry about it decreasing performance due to the slower read speeds of optical drives.

This does, however, create quite a few opportunities to scratch your disc (either by the drive mechanism or general storing/retrieving). If this happens you're off to the Activision/RedOctane/Asypre maze to figure out how to get a replacement disk all the while you're w/o the game you purchased.

It appears that this software can tell if you've made a local .dmg or .iso copy and similarly can tell if you have inserted a copy of the disk into your optical drive meaning that you can ONLY play your game by validating it with the actual DVD that came in the box from the store -- you can not use a copy even if it was an exact disc-to-disc copy.

Update 28 March 2008: The "unofficial" way to protect your original Guitar Hero III Disc is to not use it at all. For as long as it is available you can check on this thread for instructions. They would be post #7, #20, #25 and #33, roughly in that order.

Update 22 August 2008: After some more testing and tweaking I have found a better way to play Guitar Hero III "on a Mac". Here it is, with a touch of irony: http://www.bronzefinger.com/archives/2008/08/gh3-on-a-mac.html

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on | Comments (0)

Keep Your Server Connections Alive with OS X

If you connect to servers via SSH or SFTP you may get disconnected by your router which can lead to having to log back in dozens of times throughout a days work.

There is a system-wide fix that you can apply using Terminal in OS X 10.4 and 10.5.

Drawing on Almaer.com's suggestion here is what I discovered:

  • enable your root user (sudo passwd root) and su -
  • open the file /etc/ssh_config in a text editor like pico
  • Add this line to your config file: ServerAliveInterval 300
Changes should be seen with the very next terminal window you open.

keywords: Keepalive, timeout, ssh, os x tiger, os x leopard, Terminal, Transmit, Fetch, MacSFTP Carbon, Fugu

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on December 7, 2007 | Comments (0)

Just a reminder of how important good icons are

And how lousy the defaults are for the Palm Garnet OS

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Launcher Before (possibly the ugliest screen I've seen on any mobile device)

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Launcher After (If you have a high-res screen use it!)

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on November 9, 2007 | Comments (1)

How to migrate SD cards on a Palm Treo with Mac OS X

If you're like me you like to have one expansion card that holds everything, not a handful that you have to carry around and swap all the time. Using OS X and a card reader you can migrate all of your data in three easy steps and be right back on the road with more storage.


STEP ONE: back up your data using Disk Utility

1-new-disk-image.jpg

Make a disk image of your existing SD card. You can use a USB card reader or Palm software that mounts the SD card on your desktop. You can see my disk was called RICOCHET and I made my backup selection after single clicking on that disk in the left column. Disk Utility created a new .dmg of my SD card called disk4s1.dmg. You can choose to name this anything you like.


STEP TWO: format your new card

You can use the Card Info program on your Treo or you can use Disk Utility on your mac. If you use Disk Utility you need to choose "MS-DOS File System" so that it will use the FAT32 format.


STEP THREE: Use disk utility to "restore" your old disk image to your new SD card

2-restore.jpg

In the "restore" tab of the Disk Utility dialogue you will simply drag-and-drop your freshly formatted SD card into the "Destination" box and your .dmg backup (disk4s1.dmg in my case) to the "Source" box and click "Restore"

Once the process is done you can eject the disk and you're set to go.

Notes:
- If you have an old Treo 700p you may need to update your firmware to allow it to recognize SDHC cards of 4GB and greater.
- Not all SDHC cards are created equal. I picked up a Kingston Class 6 SDHC card and it would freeze up half way through copying files to it and completely crashed my mac when accessing it via Disk Utility. An off-the-shelf SanDisk 4GB SDHC card was plug and play and worked immediately without a fuss. It is apparently only a "class 2" so we'll see how the speed holds up while playing TV on it.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on October 23, 2007 | Comments (0)

Treo Launcher crash+burn: How NOT to update your phone, and an example of how you will need your backups

So you know all about the iTreo launcher that I configured over the weekend. I was so excited about updating my phone that I threw out one of the golden rules of tech upgrades and instead of doing one thing at a time I went on a rampage:

- Updated Chatter
- Installed new Card Reader app
- Installed new USB Modem app
- Installed new kMeteo app
- Rearranged categories
- Renamed infrequently updated applications (thanks to Resco Explorer)

After making all of these changes I picked up a new battery and swapped it out. In doing so the phone obviously had to reboot. When it did you can imagine my surprise when it went into an infinite reboot loop.

Various soft resets didn't work -- the only answer was a hard reset which meant wiping all the data, prefs, etc. off the phone. Game over? Not quite, but it took a fair amount of science to bring it back to life where it should have been.

Thanks to Resco Explorer I had a backup from a few weeks prior (though it reminded me I should do weekly backups of the phone like I do my computer). So here was the methodical walk-through to identify what the problem was in the stack of possibilities above.

1. Restored phone from most recent backup on SD card
2. Set desktop sync software to overwrite handheld with important info like calendar and addy book (to make sure it's all fresh and the sync doesn't go awry
3. Make a new backup (backup #1 -- after Resco Explorer makes a backup it soft resets the phone so this also acts as a test of whether or not the changes affected the phone. If they did I would have to do a "hard reset" again and restore the phone from a previous backup.)
4. Set new categories (backup #2)
5. Install kMeteo and Chatter update (backup #3)
6. Install Treo Launcher (but don't configure) (backup #4)
7. Configure Treo Launcher to be default plus all prefs, backgrounds and icons ( backup #5)
8. Name all icons properly so the phone, as a whole, works (but doesn't have preferred app names) (backup #6)
9. Rename pssh to Terminal (replacement icon wouldn't show with default name) (backup #7)
10. Rename remaining apps and icons (backup #8) (phone crashed and previous backup did not work, revert to version 6)
11. Rename just DictionaryToGo to Dictionary (backup #8.1)
12. Rename just LJP to Nintendo (backup #8.2)
13. Rename kMeteo to Weather (backup #8.3) (confirmed crash, kMeteo the culprit. restore to 8.2 and do not rename)
14. Perform final desktop sync, make backup (#9), and run with it

The moral of the story:
- Keep regular backups of anything important!
- Do not update too many things at once or it will complicate the troubleshooting process. This goes for all electronics.

Posted by Aaron R. Deutsch on | Comments (1)

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